Thursday, September 25, 2008

Who wants to see some of my kids in our sorry attempt at making commercials? Clickety click!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Try This: Baked Doughnuts

Thanks to a tip from Jessica at Balancing Everything, I found out about this recipe for baked doughnuts. We made 'em the other day too.

Some things I changed:

1. I warmed the milk too hot and killed the yeast. but I saved the dough by adding some more activated yeast in warm (not hot!) water and finally got the stuff to rise. This mistake added a significant amout of time onto this enterprise. (ended up taking us 5 hours from start to finish!)

2. I used whole wheat flour which worked just great.

These were a very yummy treat. Highly recommended, and will definitely be a repeat at our house. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Sister Needs Help to Get Out of Jail!

Today while doing school with my kids my sister called to ask if I could help bail her out of jail.

Thankfully, it's all about a fundraiser for Jerry's Kids (the Muscular Dystrophy Association).

She was picked up earlier today in the "paddy wagon" and today is doing her best to raise $2500. Join in the fun and help this worthy organization with your donation by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Random Photos of What's Been Going On Here

Fortunately, I haven't been spending all of my energy tearing my hair out about business woes. I've actually been having fun with my kids, taking lots of pictures and videos, homeschooling, and more. Here are a few shots of what's been going on here:

Our next door neighbors have two young cats that love to spend time in our back yard. My little 7 year old just loves them. Here he is with kitty cat "Slash."

Remember me complaining about the kids and the rolling temptations at the food pantry? Here is my youngest, cuddled up inside of one of the rolling carts we use to take food out for people. Nice fit, eh?

Funny how the dog and the owners start to look alike, isn't it? I didn't realize it could happen so fast! Marlee is doing a little better now. She has taken all of her antibiotics to beat that bladder infection, and she seems a bit happier now. Her tail is actually up when in the house sometimes! She still has trouble getting up off of our floor and walking around, but it's nice to see her seeming to feel happier.

This little sweetie had to go for a root canal appointment. After his experience there on the first appointment he opted for a nice dose of valium for this one. I snapped this shot as the valium was kicking in on our way to the office.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Doesn't Kill Ya Makes You Stronger: Truth or Fiction?

So after getting my computer back up and running late last week, the internet only worked for about a day before pooping out. So I've been without internet service since Friday night, til a few minutes ago. In the interim I went to the library to use their computers twice, the second time almost bringing me to my knees in anguish because of how s-l-o-w it was going. And by slow I mean that when I tried to delete 10 emails from my inbox, it took about 3 minutes for the task to be accomplished.

Weep with me, my friends.

At that point I called a friend and asked if I could come use her computer instead, which worked out somewhat better.

More tales of misery and rapture to come in the next few days (if my internet connection remains functional). I've got new photos and videos to share.....if I ever have the time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Opportunity Knocking: Learn From My Mistake

Dear friends, I want to tell you something: If you have a computer and care even a little bit about the files, photos, music, and programs that you have on it--get thee to a store where you can purchase an external hard drive right away. And use it faithfully.

I finally got my computer's restoration disc. I lost everything I had on my computer. Pictures. Books almost finished. Tons of downloadable items. Every photo that was already resized correctly that would make getting my baby boutique back up faster. Gone.

I am going to go have a little cry now. Goodbye.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Times Tales Rocks!

If you've read this blog very long you know that my 10 year old son tends to struggle with math. Though we've found many tools along the way that have definitely helped him, it's still pretty slow going on a typical school day.

Lately he has had trouble learning multiplication facts, so I was on the lookout for a way to help him. The Timez Attack game I told you about last week was good, but unfortunately my computer crashed shortly after installing it, so we haven't been able to play it.

What did catch my eye was a sale on Times Tales, which I've been aware of for quite awhile but hadn't ever seen in person.

The system arrived the other day and I started looking it over, and promptly could not understand what it was going to do to help my kid learn math facts. I read some of the instruction booklet and really, really didn't understand how it would work. This morning I looked at it some more and was thinking that I wondered how quickly I could sell it to someone else. But then I decided to just follow the instructions, even though it wasn't making sense to me, and just see what would happen.

My 8 and 10 year olds sat down with me while we went step by step through the program. After a few minutes I was starting to see how it was going to work. And within 40 minutes BOTH of those boys knew EVERY multiplication fact for numbers 6-9! My 8 year old was smiling from ear to ear, all excited about how "Now I learned multiplication!" and he's only in second grade, so isn't even up to multiplication yet. The 10 year old was more subdued....sort of mildly amazed that his brain had been tricked into learning something. His regular math lesson went easier than usual, and I am pretty darn excited.

Basically, the program works using mnemonic devices and little stories to help the child remember math facts. It's quite clever. The set I got is their older set which just covers numbers 6-9, but tonite I'm ordering the supplement that covers 3s and 4s. It's not expensive, is non-consumable, so is an easy, helpful purchase to use for all of the kids.

40 minutes!! Can you believe that? Check it out here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Someone in need

I'd never heard of the Nienie blog until today. Blogger Stephanie Nielson were critically burned in a plane crash on August 16. Stephanie sustained burns over 80% of her body. Her husband was burned about 30% of his body. They have four young children. You can read more about their situation here.

Their medical needs a great---multiple skin grafting surgeries, and more have already caused their hospital bills to be over $2 million dollars, and their insurance capped out at $1 million. Fundraising efforts are underway, and donations are being accepted. Go see how you can make a difference in the life of this family. Last I checked, praying was free.

Always in My Heart

I was just reading Heather King's memoir Parched, and got caught by surprise at what she said after telling about two of her closest friends from her teenage years:

"I would go on to have a long, long history with both of them, and though they are no longer part of my daily life, even now keep them always in my heart."

Almost immediately my thoughts shot to some of the very dear people in my heart, bonds formed in high school or before. My throat got tight, and tears filled my eyes. I know just what she means.

I can't explain why it is that a bond could be so strong that even if I don't get to see or talk to some of these people for years or decades, I'd drop everything to help them in a time of need, or to listen if they needed to talk. But it's there.

I miss those people. I am so glad about the ones that I keep in contact with. I think of them often, and hope that life's ups and downs have not been too unkind.

I was thinking that the years that have gone by since high school feel, to me, less like a time line and more like a journey that has led me far, far away. I have this vague idea that maybe if we could all walk back the way we came, maybe we could recapture our youth. Maybe get a do-over on some things that we now have the life experience to understand more fully than we could then.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Clearly, the deck is stacked against me

I do not exaggerate one single tiny iota when I tell you that literally every. stinkin. little. thing. that needs to happen in order for my businesses to get up and running again is taking way, way, waaaaaaaay, way more time, energy, learning curve, and frustration than I ever could have imagined.

If a malfunction could occur, it has.

If a server could go down, it did.

If a weird setting could be in place to cause extra trouble, you can bet your bippy it was there.

If I needed help, you can believe that it was nearly impossible for me to find in a timely manner.

If emails could get lost in cyberspace, mine did.

If I could possibly waste money on solutions that turned out to not be, I did.

If a computer, printer, or other piece of technology could refuse to work, break down, go slow, crash, malfunction, disconnect, or otherwise not do what I needed it to do, that happened as well.

If I could turn into a boring, blathering, griping version of myself, adding verse after verse to this same old stale song of technological vomit, I did.

Nothing is getting better. No end in sight. Today I almost decided to just can the whole enterprise and forget it. I still haven't entirely ruled it out.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Impressions of the RNC

I can't get Twitter to work on my loaner computer, so I'm going to update this post as I watch the RNC online.

General impressions:

Fun music, but....

Lots of white man's overbite.

It is for good reason that venues usually offering dancing as an activity are dimly lit. Nobody should have to see this in full light.

Why oh why do speechmakers have to sound so speech-y? Why can't anyone give a speech that sounds like normal speech? I can. Why can't they? Every time I see political speeches I find myself wishing I could be there to show them how it's done....

Here's a question for anybody who cares to answer: Do you think that what is said in these speeches means anything to the people listening? So much of it seems to be the typical slogan-type ways that politicians speak. I find myself thrilling a little bit when someone actually says something specific and real about an idea or a plan.

Mike Huckabee: A guy who can *almost* give a normal-sounding speech. Funny, too.

I see a lot of comments by people talking about how much they don't like John McCain. To me, knowing how much he has truly endured and given as an American speaks volumes about his commitment and motives.

Oh lawsie....pointing out that Sarah Palin played basketball and was Miss Wasilla....oh my. Im cringing.

Good job pointing out that the Palins are a family just like the rest of us. I hope their daughter Bristol is feeling a lot of support. What a lot for a young girl to deal with.

The governor of Hawaii is doing a great job with her speech!

Rudy is calling out Obama's mail....I would be hiding my head under the bed if I was Barak tonite.

Excellent speech by Rudy Guliani.

Cindy McCain's lime green dress----I love it that this woman doesn't feel obligated to limit her wardrobe to red, white, and blue.

Rudy is stirring the pot! He's been fun to listen to.

Sarah Palin is rocking the house!

Her speech was awesome.

(Did any of you see little Piper Palin licking the palm of her hand and using it to swipe down her baby brother's hair? What a hoot!)

Well, this thing is going on longer than I'm willing to stay awake. I guess John McCain will have to go on without me watching. G'nite....

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Yes. Yes. It CAN get worse!

Still so sign of the recovery disc. And it's not available online. However, if I want to pay $20 and wait 2-3 weeks, I can have one sent to me. Isn't THAT just great?

Today's technological nightmare included having my husband's laptop (that he was kind enough to leave here for me) lock up and not work for the whole day, until maybe an hour ago when I figured out a way to fix it. (Had to uninstall the printer that I installed this morning. So now I can't print postage from home. Will now need to take orders to the PO every day...but at least so far there have been orders) My son's computer doesn't like me and wouldn't work at all today. So in order to carry on with business stuff I did it all via the library's computer, in 10 minutes of time that I had while my son took his driver's permit test. (he passed! Now my kid can drive!)

Thankfully, there have still been some orders, but filling them will continue to be tricky, what with having to do everything the s-l-o-w way.

To add fuel to the fire, we got some lab results back about the health of our poor rescue dog Marlee. She has:

kidney disease
liver disease
pancreas disease
muscle wasting disease or just significant muscle wasting because of being malnourished
and, finally, a bladder infection.

No wonder the poor girl is none too perky.

So, another $70 to the vet for three medications, and now I can look forward to more of the same as long as she lives. It would sure be nice if my businesses could get back up and running so that I could afford this! Because expensive, sick, elderly, deaf dogs are kind of outside the realm of our usual budget.

And, to add insult to injury....I accidentally bought maxi pads WITHOUT wings the other night. This did not make me happy. Wings are quite important to me, you see.

Those are just the highlights. (or would that be low lights?)